I Ran into a Veteran Observing the Women’s March. His Words Are a Powerful Reminder About the Right to Protest

On Saturday, many Republican visitors in Washington, D.C., avoided the marches along the National Mall, finding respite in the monuments and less crowded parts of the city.

One such visitor was an Independent Journal Review reader and veteran named Bill Medler. As he visited the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, he discussed his visit to the capital as a supportive measure for the inauguration.

Medler told the publication that he didn’t take part in the Women’s March, but he had something to say to the protesters:

“I served in the military and fought for people’s right to be free. I may not agree with what people are protesting, but as long as they are doing it peacefully, that’s alright by me.”

America is a country founded in protest. There have been many large protests that have shaped the course of its history–and many external battles that have been fought to protect these rights at home.

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According to PBS, more than 1.1 million American soldiers have died while serving in the military. As reported by the Department of Defense, there have been 6,893 American military casualties dispersed between several operations, including a couple of operations that are still active.

This rate does not include the civilian casualties attributed to the same operations, and it does not represent the tens of thousands Americans wounded in action since 2003.

Members of the military have spent countless occasions away from home: holidays, birthdays, and inaugurations. In fact, thousands of active military men watched the inauguration and the marches while serving abroad this weekend.

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The right to protest is a fundamental cornerstone of American democracy. It ensures that all voices can be heard and presents an opportunity for the public to raise concern in response to the actions of politicians.

At times when divisions in the United States may seem vast, it can be easy to forget the many battles the country is facing together, and the people who are on the frontline.

Sometimes all it takes is a by-chance encounter to remind us to take a step back and appreciate the rights that are easily taken for granted.

What do you think?

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